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The following statement is issued by Sheleah Harris, Director of Advocacy, Tennessee Charter School Center, in response to the Shelby County School Board’s charter application review process and approval decisions:

“Two years ago, TCSC emphasized the need for transparent, objective and consistent processes to govern critical decisions such as charter school approvals with district leaders. We have worked intentionally and regularly with SCS to help guide what this looks like, and today, we are seeing the outcomes of this revised and strengthened process in action.

Applying to open a public charter school is a robust process that should not be taken lightly. SCS has made some notable reinvestments in their responsibility as an authorizer charged with the task of approving the opening of public charter schools in SCS. From expanding the size of the SCS charter office to soliciting public comment on proposed applications, this most recent review cycle reflects a more structured, rigorous, and transparent evaluation process than we have seen before. It is our hope that the criteria and standards were applied fairly and consistently across all applications and with the collective needs of families, communities and opportunities to strategically support the school district in mind.

We respect the time and consideration that SCS leadership and the board have exercised in this cycle of application reviews. TCSC looks forward to our continued collaboration with the district to further refine this process, and we encourage SCS, and the community, to continue upholding high expectations for potential schools while recognizing the value and impact quality public charter schools are bringing to the future of education in Memphis.

Congratulations to those new public charter schools that are set to become part of the SCS family and we are excited to be a resource and support for them as they navigate this next phase of opening their innovative schools.”